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The rear courtyard’s curved upper deck and lower poolside covered patio offer spaces to maximize enjoyment of outdoor activities.

Oke Woodsmith Scores Dual Ace Awards

"We are the real winners. We picked the right builder, and we love everything about our home."

swimming pool

The pool, with a 50-foot curving water slide from the upper deck, is the centerpiece of the outdoor living space. An adjacent ‘man cave/she cave’ provides an additional games and storage area.


The stone and siding exterior enhanced by the covered front porch creates eye-catching curb appeal.

There is a house in Grand Bend that is literally stopping traffic. This is no surprise, as it is the winner of two 2021 Awards of Creative Excellence (ACE) from the London Home Builders’ Association for builder Oke Woodsmith Systems.

“Cars stop all the time, and people will get out to take pictures,” says Oke Woodsmith president Randall Oke. “It’s become part of our life,” agrees Fred Groenestege, homeowner with his wife Shelley. “We realize it’s a compliment because they’re stopping to admire the features,” Shelley says.

Those features – from the grey stone and blue siding exterior to the extensive backyard entertainment and pool area – contributed to winning the ACE awards for Best Outdoor Living Space and Best New Single Family Home $1.5 and $2 million. But while it is an appreciated commendation, the Groenesteges say, “We are the real winners. We picked the right builder, and we love everything about our home.”

The one-storey residence, with a lower-level walkout and loft above the oversized double-car garage, incorporates 6,000 square feet. But despite the house’s size “it feels very homey and not extravagant,” Fred says.

“It’s so livable,” Oke says. “The main floor living area – kitchen, dining and great room – is a fantastic focal point. Entering the foyer, with its barrel ceiling carried through from the covered porch, looks straight through to the back terrace. It is awe-inspiring.”

This open-concept area – flowing from the kitchen to the great room – is one of the Groenesteges’ favourite spots for relaxing. It is dominated by a stone fireplace that reaches from floor to the cathedral ceiling. A wall of windows and patio doors overlooks the rear terrace and yard, providing natural light and an airy ambiance.

living room
The great room is dominated by a stone fireplace, stretching from floor to the cathedral ceiling.

living room
The great room is dominated by a stone fireplace, stretching from floor to the cathedral ceiling.

The spa-like primary bedroom ensuite features a shower and free-standing bathtub.

The lower level family gathering area includes a bar and kitchenette.

outdoor fireplace
The upper rear deck has an outdoor fireplace with covered seating area.


The 2021 ACE winner for Best Outdoor Living Space and Best New Single-Family Home between $1.5 and $2 million.

For Shelley, the kitchen – with its white cabinetry, brown and tan veined granite counters and island with seating for eight – is a dream come true. “It’s the heart of the home,” she says. An adjacent pantryfeatures a wine fridge, sink and dishwasher. It comes in handy when hosting the couple’s large family and while entertaining friends.

With the primary bedroom and spa-like ensuite, as well as a laundry room and den on the main floor, “we have everything we need on this level,” Fred says. “So, it’s very comfortable for us.”

The lower level is the gathering place for family visits. It includes five bedrooms, one for each of the couple’s grown children. The family room contains a games area with a bar that opens to a covered patio. Its floor-toceiling stone fireplace echoes the one above in the great room.

The above-garage loft, with multiple beds and play area, is the hangout for the grandkids. “They think it’s really cool,” Shelley says. The backyard living space, described by Oke as “their own water park,” features an upper terrace, with a stone fireplace and covered seating area, above the lower poolside patio.

The pièce de resistance is a 50-foot curved water slide from the upper deck to the pool. The space also includes two outdoor showers and has access to a bathroom on the home’s lower level.

A separate building, dubbed the ‘man cave/she cave,’ offers additional play space with a ping-pong table and an assortment of games. It also has storage for pool equipment and other outdoor accessories.

The other aspect of the home that the Groenesteges appreciate is its location. Two blocks from the town’s main intersection, it is just minutes to shops and restaurants and the popular Grand Bend beach. “The location is perfect. We can walk anywhere,” Fred says.

From any perspective this home is a winner. Says Shelley: “We've got the home of our dreams.”

A large pantry off the kitchen offers ideal extra space for meal preparation and clean-up.

The main level has a convenient laundry and sewing room.

The foyer’s barrel ceiling is carried through from the covered front entry.